Birney's Re-enactors

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          23rd Pennsylvania

Original Flag Pole
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Original Flag Pole
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23rd PA Flag
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National Colors of the 23rd PA

The Flags

of the

23rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry
"Birney's Zouaves"

The State Flag of the 23rd is Presented to the Regiment

Flag Presentaion

"Flag Presentaion" 12/15/61

Speaker Crow handing the flag to Col.Birney
Left to Right... Col. Birney, Judge Terry, Speaker Crow, Col. Puleston Wright M.C, Senator Cowan

Gettysburg Battlefield Online

Pennsylvania Volunteers was recieved by the regiment from the state on December 15th 1861. It was presented by speaker of the house Galusha A Grow on behalf of Governor Curtain. It was made by Horstmann Brothers and Company and was the only flag issued to the regiment.

The Fez

Horstmann Brothers and Company 5th and Cherry St. Philadelphia PA
Advance the Colors

At Fair Oaks on May 31st 1862 during the battle the flag was found on the ground. It was quickly retrieved and brought back safely to the lines. The 23rd lost 129 that day. At the conclusion of the Fredricksburg Campaign, the regiment retired the state color. Colonel John Ely said that the flag was worn torn, bloody and pierced with bullets from the battles of Fair Oaks, White Oak Bridge andMalvern Hill. In January of 1863 the flag was sent to Philadelphia to the adjucants home. Colonel Glenn obtained the flag in 1864 when he heard that it was not properly stored and then gave the flag to State care on July 4th 1866.

After the state flag was retired some of the officers in the unit pooled some money to purchase a new flag that the regiment would use for the remainder of the war. This flag would be used during the charge of Maryes Heights at Fredricksburg on May 3rd 1863. A month later the flag and the unit would be used as skirmishers on Culps Hill in Gettysburg.

Philadelphia women presented the unit with several flags during its term of service. After Antietam the regiment was presented with a pair of flank guidons and a new stand of colors. In December of 1863 a ball was held in Philadelphia in which money was raised for uniforms,gloves and a new flag with the battles the 23rd participated in painted on the red and white stripes. None of these "Philadelphia Flag" are in existance today. Most of the flags spoken of here were carried in a parade in Philadelphia on July 4th 1866. In 1914 the flag was carried in parade for the final time by Phillip Stengle. It was put into the rotunda of The capitol Building in Harrisburg , PA where it has been housed ever since.

I want to take the time to thank Lisa Wray Mazzanti whom had the Twenty Third Pa Volunteers Unit History republished in 1999. Her Great-Great Grandfather William Wray was with Birney's Zouaves and wrote the Regimental History. Matthew Spence is the Birney's Zouave soldier standing proudly at the topof the monument on Culps Hill in Gettysburg National Military Park. She has been kind enough to allow me to scan the images from the Regimental History. Also to Shaun Grenan for giving various images for use on this website. My friend Larry Fetter whom has supported and taught me many things about the Civil War and understands my passions with Birney's Zouaves.

Flag waiving at Culp's Hill
Pennsylvania State Colors
State Capitol Harrisburg PA

Regimental Histories were done by many units in the early 1900's. It was a sort of record of what each unit experienced told from the veterans themselves. Knowing that most of the veterans of The Civil War would be dead by 1920 most of the units formed a committee to carfully detail thier units history. I believe that out of all of the Regimental Histories that have ever been written (Union or Confederate) in which many Ive read, The Birney's Zouave Civil War--Life of The twenty third Volunteers is the best documented of them all. Over 400 pages of The units muster roll,diaries,photos,reports,ect. I most highly recommend buying a copy of it for yourself.


The information to put this write-up together was taken from the following sources:

  • “Life of the 23rd Pennsylvania “Birney’s Zouaves” ,William J. Wray 1904, 1999,2004
  • Advance the Colors! Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee
  • Research and Studies of Frank P. Marrone Jr.

  • What are people saying about This site!

    "Huzzah for the Zouaves!!!" Jeremy Lenten--NYC,NY

    "Great Website!"--Joan Asburg-- Napa Valley,CA.

    "Thank you for putting up a page on Birney's Zouaves!"--Christine Buccerelli--Philadelphia,PA

    Birney's Zouaves

    © January 1st 2011 - "Birney's Zouaves" The 23rd PA Infantry Volunteers
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